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06/14/2011

~ June 15th: It's Time for Mel's "Big Pink Drinks" ~

PICT4696 Tomorrow is June 15th, which is a sort-of celebration each year at the Preschutti household.  It is the official opening day of our tennis court and our tennis season.  As long as the sun is shining, we will invite a few friends over, play doubles, make grilled pizzas (our annual opening-day menu) and drink pink drinks...

Joe and I built our dream home and current residence in 1996 (after our sons had either gone off to college and/or moved into their own apartments).  In November, right after we moved in and immediately after our sons' initial visit and house tour, they affectionately named our new home "The Big Pink".  The witticism being:  Mom, now done raising three sons, tastefully decorated her new house in shades of pastel pink and burgundy, full of polished brass and glistening stainless steel, with white, cherry and navy accents, or, "mom just built a house we don't stand any chance of ever being allowed to move back into"!

PICT4679 The following Summer, mid-June to be precise, the kids were all back to see the opening of our backyard grass tennis court.  The tennis court was/is "my husband's baby", meaning:  while I was designing, building and decorating the house, he spent months working with Penn State's turf management group to install the only grass tennis court in the state of PA between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.  On opening day, we invited about 30 of our tennis friends, coaches and pros for an entire day of doubles matches, food and beverages. After each of the matches, our sons witnessed the players/our friends, both men and women, sitting and relaxing in the courtside gazebo, slowly sipping "seemingly house-color coordinated" pink lemonade and opined that to be "a bit too much". Then... they tasted my ladylike pink drink (which they had been sarcastically making fun of just a few moments before).  They immediately named it "Mom's Big Pink Drink"!

Over the past 14 years, I've prepared and served this drink countless times for every kind of occasion and celebration... serving it out of plastic jugs at picnics, barbecues and tailgates to crystal punch bowls at birthday parties, bridal showers and festive holidays!

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1  packet  Crystal Light pink lemonade-flavored, soft drink mix

6  cups water (I like to use bottled water)

1  cup cranberry juice

1  cup Absolut Kurant-flavored vodka

1/2  cup Seagram's Lime-twisted gin

1/2  cup Bacardi light rum

1  split of champagne (a bottle 1/4 the size of a standard champagne bottle)

fresh strawberries and/or lime slices, for garnish

~ Step 1.  Measure, mix and stir all ingredients, except champagne, together in a 2 quart pitcher. Fill tall glasses or glass mugs with ice, add pink drink mixture to glasses, filling each glass a little more than 3/4 of the way.  Top each drink with a generous splash of champagne and decoratively garnish with a fresh "fanned" strawberry and a slice of lime.  Throw the strawberry into the bottom of the glass (which is a simply decadent treat at the end of the drink), squeeze/add the lime and imbibe!

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June 15th:  It's Time for Mel's "Big Pink Drinks":  Recipe yields 2 1/2 quarts, or, 8-12 pink drinks (depending upon the size of the glasses)

Special Equipment List:  1-gallon pitcher; 1-cup measuring container; long-handled stirring spoon

Cook's Note:  In all seriousness, these are addictive.  Be responsible.  Do not drink and drive.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2011)

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